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Google successful in dismissing web browser cookie lawsuit

In a 60-page decision by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, Judge Julio Fuentes, along with two other judges, rejected a proposed class action lawsuit claiming that Google violated user rights by placing cookies in their browsers to track user activities for ad placement, Reuters reported on November 10.

Four computer users sued the search engine giant with claims that the company outflanked their cookie blockers and duped their Internet Explorer and Safari browsers into accepting cookies, resulting in an alleged infringement of their privacy. The lawsuit further accused the company of breaching federal computer fraud and wiretap laws.

But according to the judges’ decision, plaintiffs failed to prove that they have suffered losses due to Google’s use of browser cookies. However, Judge Fuentes warned that Google could be in a big legal trouble if it could be proven that the search engine exploited loopholes in Internet Explorer and Safari browsers in order to slip cookies.

This is just among the many lawsuits faced by Google in recent years. In 2012 and 2013, Google agreed to enter into a $38.5 million worth of settlement over allegations that it evaded Safari’s privacy policy by tracking user activities without consent.

Cookies are encrypted text files found in browser directories. They are used to store browser history and preferences. Although cookies are used to improve browsing experience, they can also be used for malicious purposes, such as using them as a spyware.